Saddam replaces three ministers

NICOSIA (Agencies) - Saddam Hussein replaced three cabinet ministers yesterday, giving his foreign minister the finance portfolio and sacking his minister of higher education.

Presidential decrees released by the official Iraqi News Agency said the Finance Minister, Majid Abed Jaafar, was replaced by the Foreign Minister, Ahmed Hussein. Mohammed Saaed al- Sahhaf, who had held the No 2 job in the Foreign Ministry, takes over as Foreign Minister.

The agency said the Higher Education Minister, Abdul-Razzak al-Hashemi, was replaced by Humam Abdul-Khaliq, a close Saddam aide and head of the defunct nuclear organisation. His replacement could be related to recent reports of unrest at Iraqi universities.

The move follows President Saddam's strong showing in a three-week confrontation with the West over United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq.

Within the ranks of the UN inspectors, criticism has begun to emerge as to whether the confrontation could have been averted. An unidentified 'senior UN inspector' was quoted in yesterday's editions of the New York Times as saying the dispute over access to the ministry began with a misunderstanding and could have been avoided.

The source - described as being part of the first team and having served as a senior member of the UN Special Commission in charge of the inspectors - said the monitors did not know the building they wanted to search was Iraq's Agriculture Ministry. Had they done so, the inspectors would have adopted a less confrontational approach.

Iraq yesterday criticised a meeting in Washington between James Baker, the US Secretary of State, and Iraqi opposition leaders and dismissed accusations that it was preparing to attack Shia Muslims. 'We congratulate Mr Baker for having received figures who are political, professional and moral failures,' INA said, quoting an official source.

One of the dissidents, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, charged Baghdad with preparing 'a new massacre' against Shia Muslim opposition forces in Iraq's southern marshlands. But the Iraqi official said these reports were 'lies and disinformation' and blamed Washington for spreading them.

NEW YORK - A UN investigator yesterday accused Iraq of indiscriminately bombarding villages in the south of the country and appealed to Baghdad to stop its alleged repression of Shia Muslims living there, Reuter reports.

Max van der Stoel, the special investigator for the Geneva-based Human Rights Commission, also said he had a videotape in which the prime minister of Iraq late last year instructed several army officers 'to wipe out' three Marsh Arab tribes, and said it was time the UN sent monitoring teams all over Iraq to report on abuses.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat